Counting the cost

2004 will go down in history for the sheer number of disasters that struck the planet. Around the globe, more than 300,000 people lost their lives and an estimated $123bn worth of damage was caused. All in all, in 2004 Swiss Re's Sigma report recorded 116 natural catastrophes and 216 major man-made loss events.The Asian tsunami on Boxing Day accounted for most of the dead - 280,000 - and the rest were made up by windstorms in the Caribbean, floods, earthquakes, shipping accidents and terrori